AMP scholarship winners get the means to 'do their thing'

Twenty promising Kiwis shook hands with Governor-General Jerry Mateparae as the National, Study Start and People’s Choice AMP Scholarships were handed out last night.

The contenders shared their stories at, explaining why winning an AMP grant would help them do great things.

AMP’s general manager marketing and distribution, Blair Vernon, said: “For 13 years the AMP Scholarship Programme has helped Kiwis become one step closer to making their dreams a reality, and the competence of applicants never ceases to amaze us,” he said.

“With so many talented finalists, this programme reinforces the ability and determination within this country and AMP is thrilled to help identify and celebrate it.”


Divya Dhar is a medical doctor who will use her award towards a Masters in Public Policy (MPP) at the prestigious Harvard University. Shar, who was Young New Zealander of Year in 2010, plans to use her skills to promote research and development of drugs for neglected diseases.
Dylan Schmidt is a trampolining athlete who will use his AMP Scholarship to travel to the Olympics in London 2012. Dylan was the 2010 Senior Men’s National Champion and this year qualified for the World Age Championships.
Manihera Forbes will use his award towards achieving his dream of using the art of Polynesian celestial navigating instruments to guide a waka across the Pacific.
Bryall McPherson is a Paralympic swimmer who will use her scholarship to fund her travel to the Paralympics in London 2012. She holds 11 New Zealand records and has won a Gold and Silver Medal in the Queensland Interstate Swimming Championships in Australia in 2010.
Tasman Davids is a keen ballet dancer who has been accepted to study full-time at the Vaganova (Kirov) Academy of Ballet in St Petersburg, the first New Zealander to ever receive this privilege.
Marlena Devoe is currently studying her Masters at the Manhattan School of Music in New York and will use her award to continue her dream of studying at the Julliard Opera centre. Before leaving New Zealand to study Devoe received the Opera Australia Award at the New Zealand Singing School 2011.
Andrew Watson is dedicated to the New Zealand building industry and his award will assist him in becoming the country’s best carpenter for his age (22) by allowing him to attend the World Skills Championships 2011.

Curt Perano is a passionate sled-dog dog racer who will use his AMP Scholarship to qualify and compete in Iditarod, Alaska. perano recently came first in the 2011 Race to the Sky 350 mile Race and was awarded Best Kept Team Award for the 2011 Beargrease Marathon 400 mile Race.
Jack Gray’s “thing” is Maori contemporary dance and choreography. He will use the award to tour Australia, Fiji and New Caledonia, where he will collaborate with indigenous dancers and composers as research for an innovative intercultural dance project.
Corrina Hoseason is New Zealand’s first young participant in a residency at the EKWC for technical and artistic development in Holland, and will use her scholarship to take art to the world. She was a sponsored entrant at MoAD NZ Art and Design week 2010 and was also awarded a mentor through Artists Alliance mentoring programme 2011.
Tanya O’Neil is passionate about preserving invisible Antarctic microbes and plans to use her award to fund research for her PhD. She was the first “Virgin Atlantic” PhD student to have her research funded by FoRST (NZ Govt Science/Tech Fund) and successfully completing two Antarctic campaigns.
Jessica Pearless is a professional visual artist specialising in geometric abstraction. She plans to use her scholarship to showcase her vision and work throughout NZ and Internationally
Sarah Harpur’s “thing” is stand-up comedy, and funnily enough she will use her award from AMP to assist in the development and tour funding of her third solo show around the world.
Keri Kaa wants to save her native tongue, Ngāti Porou reo Māori, and has written a children’s book which incorporates the language. She will use her award towards translating the book into a speaking book.
Katie Brown has a dream of taking sewing patterns into the 21st century and will expand her business to meet the demand for international wholesale and promote NZ fashion. She most recently won the “Most Innovative Business Idea” in the Business Awards Marlborough 2011.
Liam Friary wishes to inspire New Zealand youth to lead healthy active lives and beat obesity. He will use his award to take a nationwide tour of schools to communicate his message to the nation. Liam himself lost 56kg over three years through fitness and living a healthy lifestyle.
Jarrod Burton from Hamilton is an inventor and his ‘thing’ is to construct a machine for rescuing victims of natural disasters. His scholarship will go towards designing and building a prototype for an excavator specifically designed for removal of building components to aid rescue teams.

The 2011 AMP Study Start Scholarship recipient:

Chennoah Walford’s “thing” is human rights and she plans to study law at the Victoria University of Wellington in 2012 using her AMP Study Start Scholarship.

The 2011 AMP People’s Choice Scholarship recipients:

Mark Banicevich believes in the societal benefits of the discipline of taekwondo. He will use his award to travel abroad and learn the industry best practices at pro-school in Canada, which he will bring back to share with New Zealand schools.
Priyanka Sareen will use her AMP People’s Choice Scholarship to help New Zealand charities understand and utilise the power of Social Media. She believes it can help charities with their fundraising and social media which will help by connecting donors and providing campaign support at no cost.

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